Start of Ramadan: Fresno Muslim community prepares for their most important month of the year

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The beginning of Ramadan marks the holiest month of the year for Muslims around the world.

In the Central Valley, over 50,000 Muslims will be participating. About half are in Fresno.

Weekly prayer takes place every Friday at the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno.

This week, it's a special one because it's the Friday before Ramadan.

"1.8 billion Muslims around the world commemorate this month as a month of fasting, charity, community and personal empowerment and reflection," says executive director of the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno, Reza Nekumanesh.

For one Fresno native and member of the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno, Hibba Munji, this month is more than the physical aspect of fasting from dawn to dusk.

It serves as a reminder of her faith and the person she aims to be year-round.

"It is to really put aside the Dunya, the life of the worldly things that matter, like the pleasures of things that don't mean as much as family and taking care of one another and your relationship with God," says Hibba.

For the next 30 days, Reza Nekumanesh will lead the study of the Holy Quran.

"Which is our Holy text and then on seven nights, we will be hosting iftars here with the community to be able to celebrate our religion," he explains.
Reza invites anyone who wants to meet the local Muslim community to join them for their fast break celebrations at the cultural center in Northeast Fresno.

That includes the big one, Eid, a festival to mark the end of Ramadan.

"The nice thing about our religion is that we have so many values that are so similar to other religions," says Hibba.

Each year, the start of Ramadan falls back eleven days, so the dates change as Muslims patiently await the Crescent Moon.

Depending on when the new moon is sighted, Ramadan will begin sometime this weekend.

Details for events at the Islamic Center of Fresno can be found on their website.
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